Indian election delays EPG meeting

Kathmandu, January 13

India’s recently announced state-assembly election has delayed the regular meeting of the Eminent Persons Group on Nepal-India Relations.

The third meeting of EPG was supposed to be held in Pokhara from December 22 to 23, but election in five Indian states, including Uttarakhand, is likely to delay the meeting by at least two months.

Uttarakhand is the home-state of Bhagat Singh Koshyari, EPG chair from Indian side, and he is contesting the election slated for February 15.

An EPG member from Nepal side, Rajan Bhattarai, said the Indian side had informed that the main reason behind putting off the meeting was election in Koshyari’s home state. He also said that the two sides were in constant communication in order to fix next meeting for as early as last week of February.

A former chief minister of Uttarakhand, Koshyari is a key figure of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

The agendas for the third EPG meet have already been discussed and these include reviewing the Nepal-India Peace and Friendship Treaty of 1950, bilateral trade regime and cooperation in water resources sector. The second EPG meeting was held from October 4 to 5 in New Delhi.

EPG is a joint mechanism of Nepal and India formed to make necessary suggestions on existing bilateral treaties and agreements between the two countries.